As well as great exercise this is the ideal way to explore the country. Oh and did we mention the fun? Let www.discoverireland.ie/walking help you put your best foot forward.
Fit for a king in Kerry!
For some royal routes head to the Kingdom of Kerry when the Dingle Walking Festival hits its stride, (February 15th - 17th). The area has been described as the most beautiful on earth, and you’ll see for yourself why on paths that take you up Mount Brandon and through the breath-taking Conor Pass. There are walks to suit all levels of fitness and the post-walk craic is mighty with Dingle boasting cosy pubs with lively music sessions guaranteed to help you wind down after a day on the hills. www.dinglewalkingfestival.com
Step back in time in Louth!
Step back in time on the beautiful Cooley Peninsula and join in the Tain Walking Festival which takes place in the medieval village of Carlingford, Co. Louth, (March 1st – 3rd). There’s something for walkers of all abilities, from hikes in the Cooley Mountains to strolls along the shores of Carlingford Lough, with historic sites at every turn. For sheer drama don’t miss the night-time walk over Slieve Foy, a moonlit memory you won’t forget. www.carlingford.ie
Walk on the wild side in Connemara!
Head west to Co. Galway for the Connemara Four Seasons Spring Walking Festival (March 15th - 17th March), the ideal way to celebrate St Patrick’s Weekend. You will be led by expert guides who will give you a fascinating insight into the rich cultural, archaeological and historic heritage of this most beautiful – and wild – part of Ireland. Arrays of walking routes are available, so there is one to suit you. Avail of great deals on offer from local hotels supporting the festival. At the end of an exhilarating day’s walking, you are welcomed back to base to enjoy super food, entertainment and a great night's sleep - making sure you are fighting fit for the next day's walking! www.discoverireland.ie/walking
Come to the Comeraghs!
The Comeragh Mountains Annual Bog Trot in Co. Tipperary, (March 30th), promises to be a great day out! There are various routes which will cross the mountains from east to west, giving a stunning view of the Nire Valley. All walks will finish at the community centre in the beautiful village of Ballymacarbry where tea and refreshments will be provided! www.nirevalley.com
Walk off those Easter eggs in Leitrim!
Follow the Easter Bunny to lovely Leitrim for the North Leitrim Glens Walking Festival over Easter weekend (March 30th and 31st). Serious striders can choose a challenging five to six hour trek, while those looking for a gentler experience can opt for the three hour guided archaeology and wild life ramble on country roads. All walks will take place in the magical north Leitrim glens and will take in drumlins, archaeological sites, seascapes, mountain lakes, and heathery slopes. www.leitrimtourism.com
Bring the kids to Kilkenny!
Don’t miss the month-long Kilkenny Walking Festival, (March 29th – April 30th), which is laying on tons of fun, family friendly events this year. There will be bird watch walks (join in the dawn chorus!), tours around city, garden trails, river loops and mountain hikes. Pack a picnic and join in a scavenger hunt – or go foraging in the wild! This is a great opportunity to explore medieval Kilkenny, home of Irish craft and great artisan food producers. www.kilkennywalkingfestival.ie
Gallop in the Galtees!
Make it an outdoor May Bank Holiday weekend and sign up for the Ballyhoura International Walking Festival, (May 3rd – 6th), in Co. Limerick. Suitable for all the family it covers walks in the Ballyhoura and Galtee Mountains, as well as special interest walks in the local area. Straddling parts of counties Limerick, Tipperary and Cork, Ballyhoura is a walker’s paradise with unspoilt beauty boasting undulating green pastures, woodlands and rolling hills. www.ballyhouracountry.com
Make for Mayo!
In May, all roads lead to Mayo, with two great walking festival options. Experience the enchanting landscape of Achill during the Achill Walks Festival (May 3rd – 6th) and soak up spectacular coastal cliffs and mountains, crystal clear lakes, and amazing flora and fauna. www.achilltourism.com
If you have never experienced night walking head to south Mayo for the Cong Lakes Walking Weekend, (May 3rd – 6th), with three nights of guided night walking around the stunning villages of Cong and Clonbur, beautifully located on a narrow strip of land separating Loughs Mask and Corrib. Explore the lakeshore and woodland and do a moderate climb up Benlevy to enjoy the view. Local B&B’s are offering full board packages including three breakfasts, dinners and packed lunch for your knapsack. You can leave the car at home – as transfers from and to Castlebar train station are included!
Bridge the Gap in Dungloe!
Take the opportunity to explore the stunning North West on foot at the Dungloe Walking Weekend in Co. Donegal, (May 3rd – 6th). Take your pick from walks on quiet country roads, or to mountain hikes up Errigal. Or you might fancy a beach walk or a trek on Arranmore island. Check out special packages available in local hotels and guesthouses. www.dungloe.info
Take a Stride in Sligo!
Sligo is special and the South Sligo Walking Festival, (May 4th – 6th) is a great way to explore this beautiful part of Ireland. Most of the walks start in Aclare and you can pick a walk that will bring you around the ancient megalithic tombs of ‘the Giant’s Graveyard’ in the heart of the Ox Mountains, or a looped walk at Loughs Easkey and Talt. The walks take in part of the stunning Sligo Way. www.southslidingwalkingfestival,com
So step into Spring and get into your strike at www.discoverireland.ie/walking